Fishing participation on the upswing

Youth participation in fishing increased three percent to 11 million last year.

Youth participation in fishing increased three percent to 11 million last year.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation says fishing participation has increased by 1.5 million over the previous year.

The RBFF said in its newly released 2017 Special Report on Fishing that fishing is still the number two adult outdoor activity but it’s gaining ground on jogging, and that 2.5 million participants tried fishing for the first time in 2016.

"These findings energize us and provide some validation for the work we are doing on a daily basis," said RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson in a statement. "Our efforts to recruit new audiences and bring families to the water are certainly paying off. 60 in 60 is off to a great start, and effective R3 — recruitment, retention and reactivation — programs will only grow the participant base and secure funding for conservation programs for years to come.”

New participants accounted for 5.3 percent of the total participant base, and tended to be young and female.

The RBFF’s campaign focused on the Hispanic population, Vamos a Pescar, has also been gathering traction — last year, 3.8 million Hispanics participated in fishing, an 11-percent increase over the year prior; Hispanic anglers go on six more outings per year than their general market peers.


Youth participation in fishing increased three percent to 11 million total participants. Americans took 855 billion total fishing trips, equating to 18.8 trips per participant

"Research shows that fishing is an essential piece of America's outdoor tradition, and it often leads children to pursue outdoor activities and healthy living into adulthood," said Ivan Levin, deputy director of the Outdoor Foundation in a statement. "This report aims to help the fishing industry, and the entire outdoor industry, understand fishing participation in order to engage even more people in recreational fishing and create the next generation of lifelong anglers and outdoor enthusiasts."

The Special Report on Fishing is the product of a partnership between RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation and looks into participation trends, barriers to entry, motivating factors and preferences of key groups of anglers.